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Muni Bonds Face Reckoning After Convention Business Collapses

  • Local agencies tapping reserves, facing credit-rating cuts
  • Disease resurgence casts doubt on when industry will recover
Fans watch an Orioles game from the Hilton Hotel in Baltimore.
Fans watch an Orioles game from the Hilton Hotel in Baltimore.

Photographer: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images

During any other summer, the 757-room Hilton Hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor would be buzzing with visitors trickling in from the sprawling convention center nearby that draws hundreds of thousands of people each year.

But with that business shut down by the pandemic, the city-owned hotel has been closed since April as guests all but disappeared. With that also vanished a big chunk of revenue that is used to cover payments on $265 million of junk-rated debt that Baltimore took on to build the hotel more than a decade ago.